We recently learned of an investor in Geelong who was devastated to learn that his 4 bedroom home had been turned into a cannabis crop house.
The property was completely trashed, the electricity had been re-wired, there were holes cut in the floors and dismantled cupboards. So how did the owner end up in this position? What did he do wrong? Unfortunately the answer to that is …. not much. He did as much as he could being a private landlord. According to Domain.com.au, the owner had asked the applicants to provide proof of identity. They were able to provide a Driver’s Licenses and previous rental history. These documents were later found out to be forged. He said that they were “3 young friendly students, well dressed and well spoken. They know exactly what to say and what to do”.
He leased to the tenants in April this year and was conducting his first 3 monthly Inspection.
What else could the owner have done?
Well, he could have employed a Property Management Agent. Most agents perform due diligence that many private landlords do not or are not capable of, as they do not have the information at their disposal. Property Management agents are able to retrieve information from National Databases which show names of previous defaulting tenants, all aliases and any outstanding debts/bankrupts. They also check Bank Statements, Rental History including Referees (do they own the house they claim to rent out to the applicants?) and many other things that can impact on the application being accepted. Unfortunately most tenants who are on National Databases gravitate towards private landlords, as they know that they are the most vulnerable. They often offer to pay more rental that the landlord is asking for to secure the property. The owners then have the massive job of cleaning up the property to bring it back into a fit state to rent – this may or may not be claimable on their insurance as some insurance policies do not cover for “illegal” acts by tenants.
Finally, in the words of the investor from Geelong ……
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!!”